India will host Australia for a three-match ODI series starting from January 14. Fireworks are to be expected, as the in-form ‘Men in Blue’ welcome the Australian team, who are also on a roll. India recently overcame the challenge of South Africa and Sri Lanka, while, Australia celebrated their own wins against Pakistan and New Zealand.
One factor to be considered is that India has played 6 ODIs after their World Cup campaign came to an end, while Australia has played no one-day match post the World Cup.
But, having said that, India should not take this Australian challenge lightly. The last time both the sides faced each other in a series in India, the Aussies turned out to be winners.
It is expected to be a feisty encounter between the two, as there is no clear favourite amongst them.
The players will be primed and ready to go when they face each other in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Here are a few players that should be on everyone’s list:
1. Virat Kohli: The Indian skipper is perhaps the most important player for India in all three formats at the moment. His consistency and flair has made arguably him the best player in the world at the moment.
Although he managed to score well in only one match in the West Indies series he has been in good form in T20I and Tests.
He also had a decent run in the World Cup last year, scoring 443 runs.
His leadership skills have never been in doubt and India has flourished under him.
Virat Kohli will be looking forward to another consistent performance against Australia before the all-important series away at New Zealand.
2. Marnus Labuschagne: The player which the entire world is talking about. He has truly emerged out of thin air and taken Test cricket by a storm.
Labuschagne will be playing his first match in the yellow jersey after impressing for the Aussies in red-ball cricket. In his last eight Test innings, he has scored four centuries and one double-century. With a stunning average of 63.43 in his overall Test career, Labuschagne will be licking his lips at the Indian bowling attack.
3. Jasprit Bumrah: The last ODI match which Bumrah played for India was during the World Cup. SInce then, having suffered a stress fracture in September last year, Bumrah was not a part of India’s ODI squad for their West Indies tour.
He returned to international cricket with the T20I series against Sri Lanka in early January. Having failed to impress in the two T20I encounters, he will be looking to get back to his best against Australia.
4. David Warner: Ever since he came back from the ‘sandpaper-gate scandal’, David Warner has been in red-hot form. He set fire to the world stage when he top-scored for Australia in the World Cup last year.
Having scored 647 runs with an astounding average of 71.89, he is arguably Australia’s best bet at defeating the ‘Men in Blue’ on their home turf. Plus, he has been in splendid form in the Tests as well.
5. Rohit Sharma: Ro’Hitman’ Sharma, the best ODI batsman of 2019, will be primed and ready to go against the Aussies. Having been rested for the Sri Lanka series, Sharma will be fresh and hopeful to continue his splendid form in this series as well. Sharma was an absolute beast in the 2019 World Cup and the best player of the tournament. Banking on his form, Rohit was given a go at the opener’s position in Tests as well, where he managed to dominate and make it his own.
6. Mitchell Starc: The Australian spearhead is the best pacer on the Australian cricket team and has been a vital cog of the team in recent years. In the 2019 World Cup, he was the top wicket-taker with 27 dismissals in just 10 innings, with an economy rate of 5.43. He also helped the Aussies to annihilate the Kiwis in the recently concluded three-match Test series. Australia will be looking to him to remove the threat that Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli pose.
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (C), Steven Smith, David Warner, D Arcy Short, Marnus Labuschagne, Ashton Turner, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey (WK), Peter Handscomb (WK), Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Kane Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa.
India squad: Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Lokesh Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami.